The city is hoping to reduce bus travel times between Flushing and Jamaica — just not any time soon.
Preliminary plans that will spend a least a year being refined were floated by officials at a recent meeting with community members at York College.
Among the proposals is the implementation of Select Bus Service, where, among other things, passengers would pay the fare on sidewalk kiosks before the bus arrives to reduce boarding and debarking times.
“The bus trips are long and slow,” a spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT) said. “And with Select Bus Service we think there’s a solution to improve things.”
The DOT is considering two routes between the neighborhoods for SBS. The first would travel along Main Street where the Q44 and Q20A/B run. The second route under consideration is Parsons and Kissena boulevards, currently serviced by the Q25 and Q34.
Whichever street is chosen would undergo changes like the installation of bus-only lanes and sidewalk fare kiosks.
In the meantime, the city is considering installing a feature on some buses called traffic signal priority, according to a city spokeswoman.
The feature uses GPS to track a bus and can either prevent a light from turning red until a bus passes the intersection or shorten the length of a red signal to let a stopped bus start moving again.
But, the spokeswoman noted, if the community decides that it doesn’t like this idea, than the city won’t install the traffic signal feature. The DOT plans on working with the community for at least a year to find how SBS can be best suited to its needs.
“I think it’s clear that local community members want faster bus service,” said Jess Nizar, from the public transportation advocacy group Riders Alliance. “It’s really important to get community input in the planning process of these things.”